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Environmental Sustainability

The Most Sustainable Offices We’re Crushing On

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Jeff Gapinski

Plant in front of open blinds

One of the silver linings of remote work was the noticeable impact it had on the environment. Fewer daily commuters, minimal business trips, and lights turned off at empty office buildings all added up in a positive way. Even as it turned into a meme format, it became clear that nature was indeed healing

As we return to working in-person and implement changes for hybrid office spaces that support the future of this work, we’re looking for inspiration from offices that have been leading the charge to facilitate these kinds of environments. We’re not only looking for fun places to work, but also at how well they’ve combined sustainability with innovation. In our view, the best offices and the coolest offices are often the most sustainable as well. Here are some of the offices that we can’t wait to emulate once we’re back at Bevi HQ.

Bloomberg’s European Headquarters

Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London has been dubbed the world’s most sustainable office with a BREEAM rating of 98.5%. In addition to being a zero-landfill facility and using rainwater collected on the roof to create a net-zero flushing system, the building also uses solar panels to help power the building.

What really sticks out to us, though, is the combination of community and design. Project architect Michael Jones said, “The facility was designed to encourage interaction both within the office and the surrounding community.” Reclaiming office spaces for safe interactions is a top priority as we make physical changes to facilitate the needs of hybrid workforces. 

Additionally, any fresh design elements that encourage social interaction will help your team sync up and get back to business quickly. For example, the looped ramp walkway pictured above is “designed to encourage conversation while not impeding the flow of people.”

Google

Once the king of office perks, Google is now setting out to be the leader in hybrid office spaces. They’d begun to deal with the growing pains of a globally distributed team before the pandemic, and the move to remote work last year accelerated plans for optimizing this setup.

Instead of the desks and meeting rooms we typically associate with corporate office space, Google is implementing “Team Pods.” “Each pod is a blank canvas: Chairs, desks, whiteboards and storage units on casters can be wheeled into various arrangements, and in some cases rearranged in a matter of hours,” according to the New York Times.

Outside, in what looks like Coachella-glamping-meets-upscale-tailgating, Google is trialing outdoor workspaces for locations with accommodating weather. If your office is on more of a lean-to budget, it can’t hurt to reimagine what outside space you could repurpose or retrofit for meetings in the shade that don’t require an abundance of technology.

Upcycle

The vision for UPCycle in East Austin was to take a vacant warehouse and create a modern, sustainable office space for multiple tenants. On its face, it sounds like any old WeWork, but the focus on sustainability from the ground up makes it shine in a totally different way. 

For starters, according to Gensler, 95% of the existing building, a shipping facility and warehouse, was used in the redesign. Other sustainable design elements include skylights to make use of natural light and a more efficient ventilation system.

As we design our own hybrid spaces for safe collaboration this summer, find inspiration in the roll-up garage doors at the front of the building. They simultaneously increase fresh airflow inside while inviting tenants to step outside on a nice day.

Etsy

Etsy, headquartered in Brooklyn, made a point to include open collaboration spaces, ample bike parking (65% of employees bike to work during warmer months), and reclaimed wood in their relocation a few years ago.

Spacious indoor collaboration zones and outdoor courtyards, including a garden on the roof, now appear prescient as many hybrid office spaces will seek to incorporate the same in order to allow for distancing between employees. 

What makes this one of the coolest offices on the list is that Etsy didn’t forgo fun while designing their new space. Meditation sessions, catered meals, craft nights, and other perks all make the office an inviting space to be from 9-5 or 5-9.

Cool, Sustainable, and Hybrid

Some companies had a head start on designing cool, sustainable, hybrid office spaces, and some are just starting the planning phase of returning to the office. No matter where you find yourself, take advantage of the ability to rethink your space and generate excitement around getting back to the office and reconnecting with coworkers.  

Planning our own return to the office became a lot more fun as we found more and more design inspirations like those above, and we hope you came away with a few fun ideas for your office as well. 

If you enjoyed this article, we’d love for you to share it and let us know how your own return is going on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn!

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Jeff Gapinski

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